A week before school started, Brandon and I were standing in the kitchen and he said, ‘Did Karl Watts talk to you today?’ (It was Sunday and he was meaning at church). I said no and asked what about. Brandon said Karl had asked him if he thought I’d be interested in helping to coach the boys soccer team at the high school here in Dayton. I kind of chuckled to myself. I’m not qualified for that.
Later that evening, I called and left a message for Karl. Brandon and I decided that if we could work out the timing...it would probably be a good learning experience for me. So I waited to hear what Karl wanted from me as far as responsibilities and then what steps I would have to take to make it official. That night before bed, I said a prayer and asked my Heavenly Father if this was something worth taking on.
Well, Karl called back the next day and come to find out I would have to take 3 online courses that would cost me $100 total. A First-Aid training, CPR certification, and a Coaching Course. He said anyone interested in volunteering at the high school had to take these courses and he was currently in the middle of one. He was a little surprised when I told him I was still interested. I felt like this would be a great learning opportunity for me but even more...it would be an opportunity to make a difference. I want to make a difference. I want to be able to see the potential that these boys have and help them to see it. Not for them to be proud and cocky...but to use that knowledge for good. Sometimes when we catch a glimpse of our potential...we feel empowered to do and be better. Karl then told me that I would have to go in for fingerprinting and have a background check run before I started. I was ready to go by the first week of school.
I took the first week to observe the dynamics of the team. And one things was very clear off the bat. They didn’t speak English. They know how but choose to speak Spanish. There are 4 boys on the team that don’t speak Spanish and Karl is bilingual. Lucky him. There is another assistant coach, Jose. He’s bilingual, too but speaks Spanish much better than English. I’m kind of intimidated.
So the week progresses as follows...2 practices, 2 games, and a practice. I saw them play their second game of the week and it was sad. They pooped out at min. 27 of the first half. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. They were so tired. They gave up goal after goal because they couldn’t keep up. I was sitting in the stands and the parents were commenting. ‘Their not attacking!’ and ‘Their not running after the ball!‘ If a player was substituted, he’d come off the field and ask, ‘What did I do?’ They totally thought that Karl was pulling them off the field because they did something wrong.
They are very defensive and take no responsibility for their own actions. They don’t play as a team...it’s all about the individual and how he can make himself a star. Their passes are sloppy but their ball handling skills are great. They can dribble around multiple players and work it up the field but they won’t look to pass. There’s no unity. And tired at min. 27 are you kidding me. These boys needed conditioning in a bad way.
I went home with a purpose. I went online and found many articles and drills for conditioning. I printed some out and was prepared to present them to Karl at the next practice. Then I said a prayer for help. A long prayer for help.
Well, Friday came and I waited for Karl or Jose to make my pitch. I wanted to be in charge of conditioning this team. I waited until 3:20...then 3:25...practice is suppose to start at 3:15 and we still didn’t have either one of our coaches. I decide this was the Lord’s way of helping me. I got the boys together and told them that I was starting practice. I needed them to run a lap and then we were going to do some conditioning drills. I needed them to see me as their coach. And with no other coaches to ‘over rule’ me...I was good to go.
We had a good practice. I asked them to do some hard things, but they were up to the challenge and did everything I asked. They were tired and hurting by the time Karl actually got to the field but they all realized that this is what they really needed.
I hope I follow the spirit with this particular experience because the youth of the world scare me a little. And I just want to make a difference. Good Luck to me!